IDEAS that MATTERED in 2009...


The programme is a joint initiative of Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund (S3IDF) an NGO and Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Programme (SKRDP).
It organises self help groups, and also provides training and financing through micro credit loans.
Today, there are 80 to 100 direct beneficiaries of the project. Ameena Bi, a beedi roller from Agrahara, Indira, a tailor from Konanduru or Vasu, a petty shop owner from Malalimakki all appreciate the project which has brought light to their lives.
 For those who run small home enterprises, whose livelihoods are disrupted when power cuts happen, it is a boon.
With the new LED lights they can now run their businesses well past sunset if they choose, a convenience that translates into increased income, a better quality of life and improved living conditions.

Mobile-based banking in B’lore slum
A pilot project started by mChek, a mobile based secure authentication and payment platform that enables the customers to transact through their mobile phones, and Grameena Koota, has helped many families in Bangalore. Microfinance, and mobile-based microfinance, at that, has come as a boon for these women, most of whom didn’t even have bank accounts earlier. 
With this initiative, they have two advantages: one, they don’t have to deal with huge amounts of cash, because they can go once in a while to the Grameena Koota office, and make their withdrawals, two the loan manager comes to their doorstep.
A secure PIN means they don’t have other family members misusing their money.

Mantra of sustainability
For Germany-returned farmer Ganapathi Bhat and his wife Vidyalakshmi, sustainability is not just a word used in the context of development or environment, but something connected with all aspects of life. They believe that sustainability cannot be achieved in select areas of life, but should be dealt with holistically.
Spend a few hours with the couple at Kokkada, a small village near Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada, and you will realise that agriculture has a future in the country.
All revolutions, perhaps, begin accidentally.
 If not, a well-educated person with a doctoral degree from a foreign university, would not have returned to Kokkada as early as 1986 and tested his fortune in farming. After moulding life amidst greenery for over two decades, 53-year-old Ganapathi Bhat believes that there is nothing like agriculture, sustainability and India. From an areca plantation to vegetable crops, Bhat’s ‘lab’ has been fully organic from the past two-and-a-half decades.

First E-pod enabled school in India
Students of the Saklavara government school, 17 kms away from Bangalore, can access their entire syllabus with voice-activated and user-friendly features of a pioneering solar-powered E-pod, thanks to an NGO-corporate initiative.
The E-pod is set to bring about a renaissance in the way education is administered and managed, especially in rural and government schools that have inadequate infrastructure, and the Saklavara government school is the first school in India to be enabled.
The simplicity and ease of use is amplified by the fact that they can all be charged through a single solar panel. It dispenses with the use of batteries, back-ups, and power supply, thus enabling education even in the remote parts of the state.

Spirit of community participation
A small bridge built by residents of Molkodu, a tiny hamlet in Uttara Kannada district, has made a world of difference to them. The bridge has turned out to be a great advertisement for community participation. As many as 150 people from various self-hep groups got together, and built a bridge without any big machinery.

Dakshina Kannada’s builder of bridges
Building bridges. That’s Girish Bharadwaj’s passion. The 60-year-old mechanical engineer was inspired by former president A P J Abdul Kalam’s belief that  “physical communication between two places paves way for development.” Talking about rural Karnataka, for instance, every time there is heavy rain, all communication between villages snap. The idea of building a hanging bridge came to Girish when residents of his village prompted him to build a hanging bridge across the Payaswini river at Arambur village in Dakshina Kannada district in 1989.  Ever since, Girish hasn’t looked back. He has constructed as many as 84 hanging bridges.

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